Holmes’s debut charms, as a young widow and a former Major League pitcher learn to begin again. Evvie Drake has spent her whole life in Calcasset, Maine, and doesn’t feel as sad about her widowhood as she believe she should—possibly because she was packing up to leave her husband when she got the call about his deadly car accident. Then Dean Tenney, a former New York Yankees pitcher who has inexplicably lost his amazing pitching ability, comes to Maine to retreat from the media, and rents the apartment in Evvie’s house. Evvie and Dean grow closer, with the agreement that they not discuss her husband or his failed baseball trajectory. When Dean gets an opportunity to revamp his career with Evvie’s support, and she reveals some of the details of her difficult marriage to him, they develop trust and sparks ignite between them. But the future of their relationship depends on their ability to communicate and confide in one another. Believable, flawed characters are at the heart of this novel. At times deeply emotional yet sometimes extremely humorous, This is a satisfying crowd-pleaser. Agent: Sarah Burnes, the Gernert Company. (June)
From the Publisher
Holmes writes with an easy warmth about kind people who are trying their best but messing things up anyway. . . . A warm and lovely romance, perfect for readers of Rainbow Rowell and Louise Miller.”—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“Evvie Drake Starts Over is a heartwarming rom-com about loss, grief and second chances…. Despite the kernel of sadness rooted at the novel’s core, Evvie Drake Starts Over is a feel-good read that radiates warmth. Holmes nails the balance between romance and humor, with Evvie and Dean’s effortless and truly funny dialogue being a particular strength…. Uplifting and life-affirming, Evvie Drake Starts Over is a perfect choice for fans of Rainbow Rowell and Marian Keyes.”—BookPage (starred review)
“The charm of Holmes’ novel comes not only from a genuine friendship between Evvie and Dean that develops into a sweet romance but also from watching amiable Evvie stumble through the process of finding herself in a realistic way. A warm and funny book that will utterly captivate fans of Abbi Waxman and Taylor Jenkins Reid.”—Booklist (starred review)
“A smart romantic comedy . . . Evvie Drake Starts Over, ripe with amusing wit and charm, skillfully explores regret and longing, friendship, love and forgiveness and the challenges posed by reinvention. Strong characterizations and short, well-plotted scenes are filled with clever banter. . . . Readers will cheer for this richly drawn cast.”—Shelf Awareness
“Holmes’s debut charms, as a young widow and a former Major League pitcher learn to begin again. . . . At times deeply emotional yet sometimes extremely humorous, this is a satisfying crowd-pleaser.”—Publishers Weekly
“If you love well-written characters, quirky towns, and charming, hopeful love stories, this is the perfect book for your next summer read.”—BookReporter
“Witty, fun, and utterly relatable debut novel from a very talented new author. Highly recommended if you're looking for a smart love story!”—Emily Giffin, New York Times bestselling author of All We Ever Wanted
“I was utterly charmed—this book shows us that just because you’re broken doesn’t mean you can’t be put back together again. You’ll want to stay cozied up with these delightful, unique, and incredibly human characters long after you turn the last page.”—Doree Shafrir, author of Startup: A Novel and co-host of the Forever35 podcast
“A sweet and sincere grown-up love story . . . Fans of grounded romance will fall hard for Evvie Drake and Dean Tenney, two broken people who help each other mend. . . . Refreshing and real, with a huge heart. I loved it.”—Georgia Clark, author of The Regulars and The Bucket List
“Evvie Drake Starts Over is a warm, witty, and wonderful romance about the art of creating second chances—or a whole second act. Linda Holmes’s moving, smartly written debut is so engaging, you’ll be tempted to wish Evvie could start over yet again, just for a sequel.”—Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan, bestselling authors of The Royal We
A widow and a former baseball player try to start over after life throws them some surprises in Pop Culture Happy Hour podcaster Holmes' debut.
As far as everyone in her small town knows, Evvie Drake is a grieving widow. Her husband died in a car accident, and she's been living all alone in their big house, rarely venturing out except to get breakfast with her best friend, Andy. But what no one—not even Andy or Evvie's father—knows is that her husband was emotionally abusive, and she was planning to leave him on the night of his death. When Andy suggests that his old friend, former baseball player Dean Tenney, move in to the apartment attached to Evvie's house, she agrees. Much like Evvie, Dean's life hasn't turned out the way he wanted it to. After pitching for years, he's struggling with "the yips"—he's unable to pitch for reasons that neither he nor any professionals can figure out. Evvie and Dean are both mourning their old lives, for very different reasons, and the two of them quickly become friends—and then, slowly, something more than friends. Holmes writes with an easy warmth about kind people who are trying their best but messing things up anyway. Characters speak to each other with natural but hilarious dialogue, making their conversations a joy to read. Refreshingly, Evvie and Dean's relationship hurdles come about because they're adults with complex lives and baggage, not because of easily fixed miscommunications. Although their romance is often front and center, there are many other emotionally affecting storylines, chief among them the changing friendship between Andy and Evvie and Evvie's need to stand up to her family.
A warm and lovely romance, perfect for readers of Rainbow Rowell and Louise Miller.
DEBUT Thirty-three-year-old Evvie Drake has been living a fairly solitary life in the year since her husband died, rattling around their too-large house in the small Maine town where they both grew up, and working as a transcriber for clients around the country. So when a friend of a friend needs some time away, she's happy to rent him the apartment attached to her home. Dean Tenney is a professional baseball player, a pitcher who, one day in the middle of a game, stopped being able to pitch, a rare but not unheard of condition known as "the yips." Each character is living in a sort of limbo, struggling to adjust to fundamental shifts in their identities, and they gradually become friends, then something more. But both have unfinished business with their previous selves that they'll have to address before moving forward. Though one could make the case for this being a romance novel—and plenty of romance readers will enjoy it—there's a stronger focus on the characters' individual arcs than on them as a couple. VERDICT Holmes's (host, NPR's Pop Culture Happy Hour) debut is charming, funny, and warmhearted and will please fans of Jasmine Guillory and Maria Semple. [See Prepub Alert, 12/17/18.]—Stephanie Klose, Library Journal